Friday, December 12, 2014

Statement Analysis of Darren Wilson Part One

The following is Statement Analysis of Officer (now former) Darren Wilson in the Ferguson shooting case.

Did the officer act in self defense, or in defense of others?


Did the officer act from other motives, including racial hatred?

Statement Analysis gets to the truth.

Would he pass a polygraph?  We will learn the truth.

This is part one.

August 10, 2014
10:16 a.m. Detective
St. Louis County Police Department
Bureau of Crimes Against Persons

DET. Urn, and then a, were you in a marked vehicle? Is that correct? 


DET. Okay. What vehicle was that?

D. WILSON: 108.

The fact that the vehicle was marked, and that the officer was in uniform sets up the "expected" in both statement analysis and behavioral analysis. 

Being in a marked car, in uniform, presupposes that he is:

a.  a police officer
b.  armed with a lethal weapon. 

It is not expected that many would attack an armed police officer, and it is even less expected that one would attack an armed (identified) police officer while unarmed. 

This is unexpected. 

Therefore, the words and actions of the victim will be critical to the analysis.  

Did the victim of the shooting act in a manner that showed aggression or defiance of the one, in authoritative uniform and vehicle, which, if true, then sets up the officer to be surprised by such an aggression.  

That this be established is found in the repetition of questions:  it is sensitive. 

To attack one is unusual. 
To attack an officer is even more unusual.
To attack an officer while being unarmed, is extreme.  Hence, the importance of this line of questions.  

What might be the impact upon such aggression upon the officer?  We will listen to his language and let him guide us. 

Did he fire his weapon in self defense?
Did he fire his weapon due to racial hatred?

Statement Analysis gets to the truth.  
DET. And, that is a what type of vehicle? 

D. WILSON: It's a Tahoe police vehicle.

DET. Okay. And, it's fully marked? 


DET Okay, and it has lights on top? 

D. WILSON: Yes sir.

DET. Okay. And a, did you have a radio number that's different than your-than your car number or your DSN? How do you guys identify yourself?

D. WILSON: Frank 21 was my call sign yesterday.

DET. Is that what is always is? Or, is that just for that shift. 

D. WILSON: It rotates depending on what sector I ride that day. 

DET. Okay. What sector were you riding yesterday?

D. WILSON: One sector.

DET. Sector one? 


Establishing location. 

DET. Okay. And, so urn, when this incident took place, were you a, on a call, in the middle of a call, going to a call, on patrol? What were you doing?

D. WILSON: I had just left a call.

DET. Okay. What kind of call had you just left? 

D. WILSON: A sick case.

The priority of responses is being established.  One is a "sick case" while the other is going to be identified as being of a higher priority.  

DET. Okay, and where was that at? Do you recall? 

D. WILSON: ...I think it's was the address.

DET. ? 


DET. Okay. Alright. And, so you left that a, that address and where did you go from there?

D. WILSON: I went down Bahama to Glen Owen then down Glen Owen to Windward and then Windward turns into Canfield and thus leaving the apartment complex.

DET. Okay. And a, what takes place as you're-as you're on Canfield?

D. WILSON: Well, as I left the sick case call I had heard on the radio that there was a stealing in progress from the Ferguson Market on West Florissant. I heard a brief description of black male with a black t-shirt. Urn, as I was driving out down Canfield westbound I observed two black males walking in the center of the roadway on the center yellow line.

Note that the subject begins with a pause, which allows for thought. 
Next, we have his mind upon the "leaving" of the "sick case."

This leaving indicates that his thoughts were, at the time of the statement, still upon the location from which he was leaving, making it sensitive. 

This sensitivity is: 

70% likely due to rushing, time constraints, etc
30% likely critically missing information 

That he was responding to a "stealing case" is clarified by a single phrase:

"in progress."

That it might be still "in progress", that is, active, live, indicates the need to rush.

The sensitivity is likely explained here, in the context, of rushing to get to the case while it is yet live, therefore, with a higher chance of successful apprehension of the thief (thieves) by the officer.  

Apprehension is a large part of his duty, for which he had been trained. 

It is interesting to consider that several grand jurors were reported to have asked him, "Why didn't you just run away?" as the questions reveal the inability to think critically of the consequences of law "enforcement" running away whenever aggression is confronted.  

Next, note the entrance of race into the case.  The description is of a "black" male and he is wearing a black t shirt.  

Race is now part of the language, beginning first with the Interviewer.  

Thirdly, note the location of the men:  "in the center" of the roadway.  
This is not expected and likely increased the alarm.

Please note that these two men are described as "black", which matches the original call yet without:
a.  a second male
b.  description of t shirt

I would have asked about this at this point in the interview since the subject brought it up. 

Please note the strong use of the pronoun "I" as indicative of reliability.  We look for him to tell us what happened using the pronoun "I" and the past tense verbs. 

DET. Okay. 
D. WILSON: Urn...

DET. Roughly, where were you at on Canfield? Do you know? 

D. WILSON: Urn, right about in this area right here.

DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: Kinda in between this Copper Creek...

DET. You're identifying... okay, you're identifying Canfield and Copper Creek ... 

DET. . . . on the-on the map, is that right? 

D. WILSON: Yes, and I was going this direction.
DET. You were ... which would mean you were heading... 
D. WILSON: West.
DET. West.

D. WILSON: Correct.

DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: Urn, they had been walkin' in the middle. I remember seeing two cars I believe go around them and they hadn't moved. I pulled up to 'em, stopped with them about at my hood as they kept walking towards me. I told 'em, "Hey guys, why don't you walk on the sidewalk." The first one said, urn, "we're almost to our destination" and pointed this direction. So, I guess that's northeast.

The subject can only tell us what he remembered, therefore, "I remember" is not necessary.  This is consistent with the word "believe", as he is attempting to recall. 

The communicative language should fit context:

"I told them" uses "told", which is authoritative or firm.  He is officer in uniform and marked car.  It would not be expected to be soft language, or a suggestion. 

The "first one said" uses "said" which is not confrontational but appropriate for the context.  We will see if this consistency continues...It should turn into a conversation of "said" after the initial instruction.  

DET. Okay. D. WILSON: Urn...
DET. So, you're pointed into the complex there? 

DET. Okay.
D. WILSON: I said, "Okay, but what's wrong with the sidewalk." And then that was as they were passing my window the second subject said, "Fuck what you have to say."

The subject uses "said" which is conversational (two way) instead of "told", which may have been an attempt to diffuse or keep the peace. 

The "second subject" is the one who cursed at him.  Note in the quote is the word "say"

The escalation is from the second subject.  The first did not "tell" or "told", but was conversational.  The second "said", which expects a response . He did not say "he told me Fuck what you have to say", which indicates that the officer expected to respond to this.  

The word "say" in "F what yo have to say" is consistent with Wilson's description of the language.  His quote is likely coming from experiential memory.  

DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: And, then after that I put the vehicle in reverse, backed up about ten feet to 'em, a, attempted to open my door. Prior to backing up I did call out on the radio. I said "Frank 21, out with two, send me another car." Urn...

Note two things:

1.  He is past tense, strong pronoun
2.  He is out of chronological order

This is a strong indication that he anticipated being asked and brings it as a secondary thought.  He may have been concerned that someone would say he did not follow protocol. 

DET. Did you identify the location where you were at?

D. WILSON: I said on Canfield. I don't think I said the hundred ...or the block, but Canfield's only this section.

DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: A, I could've said 3000 which is right here, so I'm right at the intersection. Urn, I back up ten feet, I go to open my door, say "Hey, come here." He said, "What the fuck are you gonna do?" 

And, he shut my door on me. A, the door was only open maybe a foot. I didn't have chance to get my leg out. I shut the door and he came up and approached the door. I opened the door again trying to push
him back tell him to get back. Urn, he said something. I'm not sure exactly what it was and then started swinging and punching at me from outside the vehicle.

There is a noticeable change here.  While speaking strictly in the past tense, he moves in to the present tense. Is this reduced commitment to the text or:

  Is he recalling what was said over the transmission?

for this, I have used a paragraph break as he then turns to activity and not broadcast, which returns to past tense reliability:

"he shut the door on me."
"I shut the door..."

When it comes to "swinging and punching" he uses "started" which indicates ongoing activity that has yet to end.  

DET. Okay. So, he's outside the vehicle? 

The interviewer uses present tense language

D. WILSON: Correct.

DET. And, where are you at at this point? 
D. WILSON: Sitting in the driver's seat.
DET. Okay. And, the door is, is open... 
D. WILSON: Shut.

He corrects the interviewer; this is a signal that he is working from memory.  The interviewer is attempting to replay the scenario and using present tense language.  This will often yield a present tense response, initially, until the subject begins to freely edit his own account rather than follow the lead.  This is why leading questions are to be avoided. 

DET. ... closed? And, how'd it shut?

D. WILSON: It's shut. He has his body against the door preventing me from opening it.

He joins the Interviewer in present tense. 

DET. Okay. How is he-how is he preventing you from opening it? Body against it or. .. ?

D. WILSON: Body against it.

He uses the language of the Interviewer.  Better is to be asked to explain rather than offered words. 

DET. ... arms or hands or. ..

Never interrupt a subject speaking. 

D. WILSON: And that point it was his body 'cause his stomach was against the door.
His hands were inside on me.

Strongly reliable.  

DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: When he shut the door the second time he put his hands on the windowsill and shut the door and then approached the door with his body against it and he was a heavier set taller subject enough to where he had to duck his head to come into my vehicle and he entered my vehicle with his hands, arms, and his
head ...assaulting me. He a...

Note the reliability of the past tense account.  

DET. How is he assaulting you?

D. WILSON: The first time he had struck me somewhere in this area but it was like glancing blow 'cause I was able to defend a little bit. Urn, after that he, I was doing the, just scramblin' tryin' to get his arms out of my face and him from grabbin' me and everything else. He turned to his .. .ifhe's at my vehicle, he turned to his left and handed the first subject. He said, "Here take these." He was holding a pack of-several packs of cigarillos which was just, what was stolen from the Market Store, was several packs of cigarillos. He said "Here hold these" and when he
did that I grabbed his right arm tryin' just to control something at that point. Urn, as I was holdin' it, and he came around he came around with his arm extended, fist made, and went like that straight at my face with his ... a full swing with his left hand.

The account is in the past tense, with verbs, and is reliable.  
When he quotes the victim, he moves into present tense with direct quote, which is the same pattern he followed with the transmissions. 
Note that "stolen" is sensitive, since it is editorializing.  

"just to control" is sensitive, as he explains why he did something; this shows he anticipates being asked "why?"; which in context, is the purpose of the interview. 

DET. And, that's the hand that he had used to hand off the ...

D. WILSON: Correct.
DET. ... the cigarillos.
D. WILSON: Correct.

DET. Okay, did he have anything in his hand at that point?

D. WILSON: After he hit me the second time?
DET. Right.

DET. When you, you said, you identified that he came around with a full swing. D. WILSON: Yes.
DET. How was his hand?

D. WILSON: It was closed. It was in a fist.
DET. Okay.

D. WILSON: He hit me with this part of his hand, just like this across my cheek.
DET. Okay.

Thus far the subject is reliable and truthful in his account.   Part two to follow. 


Buckley said...

That he was responding to a "stealing case" is clarified by a single phrase:

"in progress."

That it might be still "in progress", that is, active, live, indicates the need to rush.

The sensitivity is likely explained here, in the context, of rushing to get to the case while it is yet live, therefore, with a higher chance of successful apprehension of the thief (thieves) by the officer.

From the grand jury testimony:

Q: Okay. did you get any other calls between the time of the sick baby call and your interaction with Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson?

A: While on the sick case call, A call came out for a stealing in progress from the local market on West Florissant, that the suspects traveling towards QT. I didn't hear the entire call, I was on my portable radio, which isn't exactly the best. I did hear that the suspect was wearing a black shirt and that a box of cigarillos was stolen.
Q: okay. And this was your call or you just heard the call?
A: it was not my call I heard the call.
Q: some other officers were dispatched to that call.
A: I believe two others were.
Q: was it a call that you were going to go to also?
A: no
Q: so you weren't really geared to handle that call?
A: no

Notice in the detective interview, he says "as I left the sick case call I had heard on THE radio..."

In the grand jury testimony he says "While on the sick case call, a call came out...I was on MY portable radio."

The two accounts differ in when he heard the call- while on" vs. "As I left" and the language he uses to describe which radio he uses changes.

He was not responding to the call.

~mj said...

I think the difference in testimony to the GJ vs his interview regarding when he heard the stealing call is pretty weak. Perhaps for the GJ he gave more details than during the interview? Portable radio vs just radio, exactly his position when he heard the call, we have no way of knowing if he was wrapping up the sick baby call and heard it on his radio, that would certainly fit both descriptions. Especially since during his interview he states, "As I left..." a lot can take place between the action commencing of leaving and the actual leaving. - I do look forward to the rest of the analysis.

Buckley said...

It may be, but in the GJ testimony, Wilson is unambiguous that he was not responding to the "stealing" call. Yet in the interview with the detective it is ambiguous. It seems from the statement, Wilson never states he was responding to the call, but wants us to believe he was. The above analysis clearly assumes he was responding to the call. But when asked the direct question under oath, Wilson cannot lie and tells us it was not his call.

~mj said...

I validate your points. I didn't interpret officer Wilson's responses to imply he was responding to the call. I interpreted it just as it was stated, he heard the call. He didn't indicate that he was driving to the market. In fact he was clear as a bell what roads he took. I also understand this interview to be the very next day. Which speaks volumes for the veracity of his Statement as it doesn't offer any need to spin a story. It is clear cut. Certainly, he offers more details later, to the GJ. But the differences are so slight, that it would be akin to two people arguing about what color someone was wearing, when from one person's perspective with the lighting the jacket looked crimson and to the other it looked royal purple. A reasonable difference given where each person stood according to the lighting. It seems to me, his testimony is quite like that, given the context, nothing he says in either case changes the events. Just my thoughts anyways.

Nadine Lumley said...

Re: I'm not sure exactly what it was and then started swinging and punching at me from outside the vehicle.

The pronoun HE is missing from above.

Doesn't that make that statement a lie?